Erica A Morin
First, it is important for me to determine if the situation is “emotional” or “passionate”. Emotional means a loss of control whereas passionate mean that you feel very strongly about a topic but are in control of those feelings. If someone says to me “stop acting so emotional” or “you’re acting emotional (which is usually followed by “it’s not personal”), my first thought is “am I emotional or am I passionate?”. This forces me to really consider what I am talking about and that causes me to slow down and that gets the hightened “emotion” out of the equation.
If I realize that I am not passionate about the topic – that I am in fact emotional – then I can see that it is usually a result of frustration at the other person’s response, attitude, mis-understanding, etc and I have to consider how to reconnect to that person usually with active listening skills. If I realize that I am passionate, then my first response to the other person is just that, “I am not emotional – I am passionate about x. Why aren’t you?” This then forces that person to consider their take on the topic and giving us breathing time. I have found this to diffuse a situation rather quickly for me.
However, if the passion or the emotion is too much, I simply “pick a new personna” to play for a while. I have been a professional presenter/instructor for a long time, and I sometimes can’t remember who the “real me” is due to all the different “personna” I have developed over the years to match situations. I like to think of myself as a good book with lots of good content if anyone could get past the dust cover. So, I just slip on a “dust cover personna” that is more appealing to the audience and make them more receptive to what I have to offer.